Rabbi David L. Kline
1. Introductions: Cosmogeny. Genesis 1-2, “The First Week.”
2. “The Garden,” Gen 2:4b-25, the other story. Could you harmonize “The Garden” with “The First Week?” Which story makes more sense as a description of the world as we know it?
3. Antedeluvian Conditions Genesis 6-9 I have prepared a document called "Flood Story Deconstructed" set in parallel columns. Where the two Creation stories were presented one after the other (in reverse order, to be sure) the two Flood stories, J and P, are sandwiched together so that there is overlapping and redundancy. Following literary clues, it is possible to separate them out into something resembling the original writings. This makes it easier to read and comprehend. http://good-to-be-a-jew.blogspot.com/2007/12/bible-story-flood.html
4. Postdeluvian Conditions Genesis 6-9 See above mentioned deconstruction. Here is a fine translation of the Babylonian Flood story, where Utnapishtim is the ark builder:
5. Moral revolution. Ethical God. Amos 1-7. Here's a reading guide to these chapters: http://good-to-be-a-jew.blogspot.com/2013/02/bible-courses-prophets-amos-reading.html
6. Who's a Prophet? Hosea the homeletician 1-4. Jeremiah, poet, thinker, critic 1, 7:1-28. Here is a redacted version of the first few chapters of Hosea to ease the reading:
7. Deuteronomy, the First Edition of the Book of Torah, Jerusalem, 622 BCE. Read Deut 5-14. See 2 Kings 22:1-13 for publication story. (For more on D/Deuteronomist, click on the above Wikipedia link or just do a search.) In Deuteronomy look for relationship between Israel and Yah, laws and ordinances, reward and punishment (retribution) attached to the laws. Keep in mind the teachings of Amos and Hosea two centuries earlier. Here is a reading guide for the whole book of Deuteronomy:
8. Monotheism and mission, DeuteroIsaiah 40-42. The 66 chapters of Book of Isaiah include the writings of at least 3 people. For a taste of Isaiah of Jerusalem, try Is 1. A contemporary of Amos, he criticized injustice and reliance on religious rituals. TritoIsaiah (chapters 60-66) seems to be post exilic, talking about a restored Jerusalem. Our subject, the author of chapters 40-59, seems to be writing from Babylonia, before the return from exile. He is a theologian, introducing monotheism and a new approach to the special relationship between Israel and Yah.
9. Ancient wisdom Proverbs 1-3, 10; Ecclesiastes 1-3, 12. Read this as an entry into our ancestors' minds. Agree or argue. Enjoy the nicety of nuance and prepare to be amazed at their scope of thought.
10. Sing a Song of Eros: Song of Songs 1-8. Jewish erotica? Why haven’t we paid it more attention? The great rabbi Akiba, philosopher and leader, argued against his colleagues who wanted to keep Shir HaShirim out of Tanach: “God forbid that anyone of Yisrael doubt that Song of Songs impurifies hands. For the whole world is not as worthy as the day on which the Song of Songs was given to Yisrael. For all the Writings are kodesh, but the Song of Songs is kodesh kodoshim.” (Mishnah, Yadayim 3:5)